Limited bus service to resume at 10 a.m. Thursday

02/12/2014 4:28 PM

02/12/2014 10:39 PM

A drive on Interstate 77 Wednesday afternoon was a 20 mph affair, an exercise in avoiding the occasional fishtailing car.

But despite the snow, the Lynx Blue Line still ran on schedule, with the same 22-minute journey from uptown to Interstate 485 that occurs in the best weather.

The Charlotte Area Transit System schedule said a light-rail train would pull into the Stonewall Station Wednesday at 12:50 p.m.

Sure enough, not a minute later, a two-car train pulled into the station, whose platform was covered with about 2 inches of snow.

“I expect it would be on time,” said Scott Steele, who has taken the Lynx Blue Line to work almost daily for four years. “I’m happy I don’t have to drive.”

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Lynx Blue Line was running close to its posted schedule. CATS, however, said all bus service would stop as of 6 p.m.

The transit system announced Wednesday night that limited bus service would resume at 10 a.m. Thursday. No express buses will operate Thursday.

On Wednesday, Lynx Blue Line trains were less crowded than usual, but there were still riders who appreciated not having to drive.

Thomas Stire, who had to attend a sales meeting uptown early Wednesday, took the train for part of his trip home.

“I’m thankful I’m not out in it,” Stire said.

Olaf Kinard, who heads the transit system’s marketing and communications efforts, said the biggest concern for the Lynx is ice forming on the train’s catenary wires, which give the trains their electricity. By mid-Wednesday afternoon that wasn’t yet a problem.

He said the train’s frequent trips would push any snow from the rails before it could accumulate. He said CATS might run trains after service ends at 1:30 a.m. Thursday. The transit system was concerned about snow on station platforms, but CATS had three crews removing snow for waiting passengers.

“We’ll be out until midnight,” said Kevin Wallace, a CATS employee who led a team of four people shoveling snow at the East-West station.

Kinard said bus drivers had worked to stay on schedule Wednesday.

“We just encourage them to go down the road,” Kinard said. “If it’s not safe, just take your time.”

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